Lilly Turner  [DVD]Ruth Chatterton (actor)
George Brent (actor)
Format: all-region dvd (worldwide)
Quality: Very Good 4:3 b/w
Ruth Chatterton (as Lilly Turner) impulsively marries handsome actor Gordon Westcott (as Rex Durkee). Soon, Ms. Chatterton learns Mr. Westcott is a two-timer, who can't keep a job. Additionally, Westcott beats up Chatterton's pal Frank McHugh (as Dave Dixon), who shows a fondness for alcohol. When Westcott's previous wife makes a surprise appearance, Chatterton learns he is a bigamist; but, Westcott has taken off for parts unknown. Chatterton, left pregnant, accepts Mr. McHugh's marriage proposal; and, the two try to make ends meet as carnival workers. Then, Chatterton falls for down-on-his-luck engineer George Brent (as Bob Chandler), who soon replaces carnival strongman Robert Barrat (as Fritz). Mr. Barrat has gone insane with love for Chatterton; and, she is torn between her love for Mr. Brent and her loyalty for McHugh? - imdb
Here is an excellent review of this title:
This is why I watch old movies. Every once in a while
you find a completely neglected, undiscovered gem. That is the case with Lilly Turner, in which Ruth Chatterton gives one of the finest performances of any of the '30s era leading ladies. Her performance is so full of nuance. She was a great actress. The story leaves nothing to be desired. At a brief 65 minutes, it hits all the bases and leaves no aspect of the (moving) story unfinished.
Lilly is a woman who is married to a polygamist. She doesn't learn of this until she is already pregnant; she loses the child but receives help from a fellow carnival performer. Together they bravely make their way in a sort of underworld of crazies and carnies. It isn't until she meets a taxi driver (Brent) that she finally finds love, but the question is will he be able to accept her. This film highlights everything I love so much about classic films: exploration of human emotions and complicated situations. There is also the aspect of being redeemed by love which I find so beautiful in the
older films. Although melodramatic, it is not a completely unbelievable story.
There is as much truth as fantasy in the story. The fantasy takes us out of our own lives, while momentary grains of wisdom in the dialog keep us tuned in and, in my case, amazed. The plot involving Brent is most interesting. He has a college degree but can't find a job, so he takes up a job in a carnival. Some might laugh, but only if taken out of the context of the great depression. Interestingly enough, I graduated college a year ago and have not found work in my field. The parallels in this movie peaked my interest and held meaning to me. I am constantly surprised by the low ratings of pre-1940s films on IMDb. It leads me to believe most people do not appreciate the real classics, or at least the undiscovered ones.